animal activist

The Power of Partnerships: Zoos Joining Forces with Animal Welfare Organizations

logoA snippet of my quite controversial post over at about my naively optimistic wish of eliminating the US vs THEM mentality that has invaded every aspect of our world: "But my real wish, my dream, is of, “what an amazing world this would be’ if we could all join forces. We could unite over a common cause: working to protect the remaining non-captive animal populations from extinction. Let’s join together the very best characteristics from both sides of the aisle. Join the mega audience of zoos and aquariums, (with an attendance greater than all professional sports combined), with the marketing, messaging and PR skills of the animal rights groups, whose ability to incite passionate action is unrivalled.

Let’s redirect our efforts for productivity, for proactivity, and stop fighting each other. We need to listen and learn; critically review our policies and procedures, create new programs, and focus. Let’s save habitats and wildlife. Because really, we’re all on this earth together, so why not be all in this together?"

NC Zoo Opens Expanded Elephant Yard

Like Polar Bears, Elephants have been a hot topic for zoos in the recent past. Animal activists have started coming to the forefront, making alliances and friends of folks in power. In extreme cases, like the city of Chicago, pending legislation prohibits elephants to be kept in captivity, unless the institution meets unrealistic standards. In the case of Chicago, the new city ordinance would require 10 acres per elephant, of which, 5 acres are indoor.  These requirements are intended to drive zoos and circuses out of the elephant business.  As misguided as this ordinance seems (although I do agree with opposition to circuses), strong public support makes this type of legislation feasible, not only in local municipalities, but could, some day, reach national levels. 

North Carolina ZooTo help avoid the critical eye of animal activists such as Save the Wild Elephants, whose aim is strategically placed on zoos across the country, North Carolina Zoo recently opened an expansion to their already massive mixed species African plains exhibit, now called "Watani Grassland Reserve." 

In addition to the added space, the exhibit incorporates art and graphics as a means of learning throughout.  The exhibit added up close views of elephant pools, and the experience is intended to be passive and exploratory, with thousands of feet of meandering trails.  Vistas across open grassy plains are the norm here, and visitors are easily immersed in the idea of being on safari.

I'm curious if this massive exhibit would meet the Chicago legislation, as this exhibit is surely the largest and most responsible habitat out there.  Watch news video.


  • 44 acres
  • $8.5 million
  • 7 African Elephant (ability to hold 2-3 bulls)
  • 9 White Rhino
  • Antelope species
  • 13,000 sf Indoor Elephant only Facility ($2.5 million)

Congratulations to all involved!!

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